Archive for the ‘cilantro’ Category

Chickpea and Luganega stew

Funny that in French the word for garlic is ail. Funny, that is, when garlic, that wonder, that golden child of the onion family, is so good at protecting you from what ails, meaning keeping those nasty little cold and flu viruses at bay. I have personally noticed the relationship between number of cold viruses inflicted to the amount of garlic consumed. The New Year put that theory to the test with a bout beans-on-toast living followed by a visit from Sniffy ‘n Snotty. I love garlic and I tend to use it in just about every dish I make for dinner, along with a liberal and counteractive sprinkling of parsley, to be sure. I do, after all, have to interact with the rest of humanity now and again. When my dear friend and partner-in-crime at the Summer Market, Ms A, gave me a treasured bottle of Iranian pickled garlic, I gushed with happiness. These sweet, heady, more-ish pods of sweet, slightly tart garlic are a delicacy produced in the north of Iran and I can see why it’s a well kept secret. I’ve had the jar in my fridge for a good few months now, nibbling on a clove de temp en temp and in my mood of using what’s in the cupboard I tried to make a dish which would perfectly compliment them.

I opened up my pantry, now stocked mostly with canned and bottled goods, pickles and conserves, dried herbs and spices and jars of various sauces and did what we all like to do now and then: I winged it. So here is something made pretty much from what I had on hand in pantry and refrigerator. The last couple of carrots and the last but one clove of fresh garlic from the Summer Market went into the pot, along with the frozen, left over Luganega from the Pizza Rustica. And I have to say, not only was this little dish heart warming and super satisfying but it made fabulous wraps the next day for lunch, which the ever inventive Mr P made up with a good smearing of balsamic onion chutney. For the dinner it was served with minted couscous and goes brilliantly with those pickled garlic and a dollop of plain yogurt.

*note: I used Luganega sausages because I had a few left in the freezer I wanted to use up. Use any spicy pork sausage, or lamb, or leave them out for a vegetarian option.

Chickpea and Luganega stew 2

Chickpea and Luganega Stew

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 pork sausages, thickly sliced
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp sweet paprika
½ ginger
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 14oz (400g) can whole, peeled Italian tomatoes
1 14oz (400g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup water
2 carrots, finely grated/chopped

– heat the oil in a large, heavy based pot. Saute onions and garlic over a moderate heat until softened.

– add sausage and fry until browned. Add spices, cooking for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

– add tomato paste, cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and water, breaking them up with a wooden spoon as they cook.

– when the mixture is bubbling, add the chickpeas and carrots. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer very gently for 40 mins.

– serve with generous cilantro and minted cous cous.

pickled garlic

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pork and mango

One of the things I’m enjoying about living in North America, and I’m speaking from a culinary perspective here, is the availability of Mexican and Tex-Mex style food. There isn’t exactly a huge following of this cuisine back home, unless you can spell Old Elpaso. I love how easy the food seems, how fresh and how there seems to be a real culture of love for the making of the food. If you need a little inspiration, just follow, for a few moments, in the Homesick Texan’s footsteps and be motivated. Nowadays we often have a fabulous, if somewhat messy, dinner of Taco’s or Tortilla’s and it’s such simple, fun food that you can’t help but enjoy it in a child-like, lick the fingers kind of way. I always seem to end up with such an overstuffed Taco that as I take my first bite the whole thing invariably comes apart in my hands in a sticky mass of chicken and salsa and guacamole. I usually giggle the whole way through. Anyway, as one of our favourite restaurants here in TO, a Latin Fusion place, if you will, they serve a dish hysterically named “Pork and Roll” (which always makes me think of those Elvis Presley wall clocks with the swinging legs counting the seconds down) combining a spicy, hot hot mix of pork and pineapple on flour tortilla’s. Super yum, even though I’m not usually a fan of fruit on my meat. I figured a mango could taste just as good and Voila!

pork and mango tortillas

Pork and Mango Tortillas
(with Salsa verde, naturallement)

2 fillets of pork (about 400 – 500g total) – finely chopped, about 5mm pieces
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp grape seed oil (or canola)mango
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp Lime juice

1 small or ½ large mango, peeled, pitted and cubed
¼ cup chopped Cilantro

grated Cheddar cheese
Salsa Verde
flour tortillas

– mix the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add pork, coating well with spices, and let stand for 10 mins or so.

– heat the oil in a large skillet, add meat and brown.

– Remove meat from skillet, add garlic, onion and green pepper. Saute for 2 mins. Add tomato paste and tomatoes.

– Add vinegar, sugar and lime juice and cook until tender, about 10 mins. Replace pork and simmer until pork is cooked through.

– Stir in mango and cilantro and remove from heat.

– serve in tortillas with lettuce, salsa and cheese.

pork and mango prep

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Are they tomatoes? I don’t know. They look like tomatoes, but they also look kinda like a Cape Gooseberry. Well, I’ll tell you one thing: they make a great salsa, and since we’re hanging on to the last shreds of Summer by our fingernails here, I’m going to be making Summer Salsa’s until they become … uh … Seasonically Illegal. Or something.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

8 or so green Tomatillo’s
2 small peach delicious tomatoes (or other yellow tomatoes)
1 small jalepeno
1 clove garlic
salt to taste
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp chopped Cilantro

– put the tomatillo’s, tomatoes, jalepeno and garlic in a blender and pulse a few times until it’s all finely chopped, but not liquid

– bring mixture to a boil and simmer for about 10 mins

– allow the mixture to cool a bit, then put back in the food processor with the avocado and cilantro and salt to taste and blend until fairly smooth.

Salsa Verde 2

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Red Snapper with Lemongrass and Sweet Chili

This is one of my favourite dishes to make. It’s really easy, involves little actual cooking and is great tasting and healthy too. Also, it’s an impressive and exotic looking dish for a dinner party, if your friends don’t mind the whole fish. Actually, most of the flavour of a fish is in the bones and the skin, so cooking a whole fish makes much more sense. Just mind the bones while eating! I’ve adapted it from a recipe from Australian Women’s Weekly (some of my favourite books are from this range) for an outdoor barbecue dish, where the fish is grilled on a barbecue in banana leaves. A bit difficult to get in Toronto! I added a sliced banana underneath the fish and it absorbs all the flavours and sticky sweet spices from the fish to make a very complimentary chutney. Serve it with a sticky rice such as Thai, to sop up all the juices, a fresh salad (recipe underneath the fish) and edamame, boiled for a few minutes in salty water.

Red Snapper with Lemongrass and Sweet Chili 2

Red Snapper with Lemongrass and Sweet Chili

1 large, whole Red Snapper, descaled and cleaned by your fishmonger
1 big fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced (to make about ⅓ cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh grated gingerRed Snapper with Lemongrass and Sweet Chili in parcel
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 banana, quartered length-ways
2 Tbsp chopped Cilantro
– wash the snapper under cold water and pat dry with paper towel

– in a bowl, mix garlic, ginger, lime, soy, chili, fish sauce and sesame oil.

– lay out a piece of baking parchment with a equal size piece of foil on top, large enough to wrap the fish

– lay 3 quarters of the banana in the middle of the foil.

– put the fish on top of the banana, put the remaining quarter banana inside the fish cavity

– cut three slashes into each side of the fish. Top with ginger/lemongrass, rubbing some mixture into each cut. Sprinkle with Cilantro

– wrap the fish in the foil and then in the parchment, tie with string to secure. Rest in Fridge for 20 mins.

– pre-heat oven to 420˚F. Bake fish for 20 – 30 mins until done.

Carrot and Cabbage Salad

3 small carrots, julienned
3 0r 4 outer leaves from a fresh, green cabbage, finely sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
Cilantro,chopped to make ⅓ cup
Basil, chopped to make ⅓ cup
Parsley, chopped to make ⅓ cup


1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

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salad with hers and fava beens

When it’s hot outside, all I seem to want for lunch is something light and fresh and low in energy-producing carbohydrates. But why stick with ye olde faithful lettuce tomato and Cucumber, not that there’s anything wrong with that, when you can have a mixture of fresh herbs, like Cilantro, fennel, basil, parsley, tarragon, chives and thyme with baby root veg like beets and carrots. Add some freshly steamed fava beans, sprinkle with sesame seeds and, Voila!

ps/ the dressing is a mixtrue of a crushed clove of garlic, a Tbsp on tarragon infused Dijon mustard, the juice of a lemon and a good measure of extra virgin olive oil.

Herb Salad with Sesame Seeds and Tarragon Dijon Dressing 2

Herb Salad with Sesame Seeds and Tarragon Dijon Dressing 3

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